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Old 07-22-2011, 11:11 AM   #174
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Default Re: The Official Captain America: The First Avenger Review Thread!

Here is my review:

Captain America: The First Avenger serves as both a bookend to the lead-up to the upcoming Avengers film, as well as an introduction to the man who will likely be leading the squad. Iron Man and Thor both saw great success in their first outings, and you can add Captain America to that list as well. Much like Thor and Iron Man, Captain America has the same charm and wit that the audience has come to appreciate in it's Marvel Studios productions.

One area Captain America outperforms all other Marvel Studios films to date is cinematography. While Joe Johnston has a somewhat spotty record in regard to storytelling aspects of his films, he has always been able to provide great looking films. The sweeping landscapes, Hydra hideouts, and streets are all perfectly framed and stylized. Every shot is very active. The make-up and wardrobe also add to the retro feel the film is trying to accomplish. Captain America also makes you feel like the world is vast and that he was serving his country all around the world, while Thor at times felt limited given the low number of locations in both Earth and Asgard. The film's score also adds to that retro vibe, and brings out the emotion in the key emotional beats.

Captain America is also the fastest paced Marvel Studios film, but that is not really a problem. Thor took place over the course of essentially 2 days, Iron Man took place over the course of months, etc. Captain America's story (discounting the modern day scenes) takes place over years. More material had to be covered, and the faster pacing doesn't detract from the film in the character department. The only character who maybe suffers from lack of screentime is Bucky Barnes. I feel he had good material in the film, but I can see where people may say he needed a tad more screentime.

The film is complimented with great acting. Tommy Lee Jones and Stanley Tucci are great in their roles. Hayley Atwell is very charming and intriguing as Peggy Carter. She gives us a strong willed woman we can believe has the Captain's eye. Hugo Weaving also gives a great performance. While the Red Skull may not be as layered as Loki was in Thor, the Red Skull works perfectly as a foil to Captain America. While Captain America is more a classic “all good” hero, the Red Skull is a throwback to the old school “pure evil” villain. He shows little to no remorse for anyone, and views himself a god. I also apprectiate that they never go the cliché route of trying to have him recruit Captain America to evil. He just wants to kill him!

Oh, you want to know about Chris Evans. Well, Chris Evans nails Steve Rogers. Period. This, for me, is a more difficult part to play than either Thor or Iron Man. Steve Rogers is a much more reserved man, and much of Cap's emotion doesn't come out in words or funny ways. He's much more understated than that, and he's a boyscout (unlike Stark and Thor), and this I feel makes him seemingly less sexy than those characters. But, Evans is able to bring out all the essential aspects of Steve Rogers in spades. You fall in love with him quickly and keep wanting more. I don't really want to get into how Hemms and Downey measure up to Evans. All their characters are different. I do think Evans will be able to stand in their presence and not get lost.

Now, the film doesn't resolve all the arcs or stories for the characters. In fact, it leaves pretty much all the fates of the key characters pretty ambiguous. Some may argue that makes it an incomplete film or just a glorified build-up for Avengers, but I disagree. Captain America is a unique superhero. He has two origins. This film was just about his first origin: becoming the super soldier in World War II. Avengers will showcase Cap's second origin: being a man out of his time. I didn't leave the theater angry so many loose ends were not tied up. I left the theater wanting to see how the story is continued from here. I think the decision to end it where they did worked very well.

The final piece of the pre-Avengers puzzle is in place for Marvel, and Captain America: The First Avenger doesn't disappoint. Captain America successfully captures the essence an era in action films, in the vein of Indiana Jones, while bringing its own charm to the table. While the character journey of Steve Rogers doesn't really conclude, all the necessary points of that journey are covered and it leaves you waiting for more, which is surely to come in Avengers and hopefully Captain America sequels. If there is justice in the universe, Captain America's journey won't end in Avengers films. It will end in seuqels.


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